View Full Version : 400 lb. Steel cylinder is rusty

05-14-2016, 03:16 AM
Ok folks. Here we go.
I recently have been given a really old steal and cast iron press from days of old. Each roller/cylinder is solid steal measuring 8"x28". They have rusted and slightly pitted. These things weigh almost 400lbs each. They guy that i am getting the press from suggested getting them machined true again but i don't believe that it's needed. Maybe I'm wrong.
I am open to all of your suggestions on how to reclaim the roller/cylinder without having to get an engine lift to move them again. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-May-2016/1982856-00f0f_6zybmqJ0ZAQ_1200x900_1.jpg

05-14-2016, 11:56 AM
What a beauty - I am jealous. I have some thoughts about rusty/pitted cylinders but... it will be interesting to see what other responses you get. Love that press.

05-14-2016, 02:15 PM
Be very careful changing the diameter of the rollers, because of the drive system of this press. The press is rack driven and as well from the sides by gear wheels or worm wheels. Cannot see it right now. We sold a press like this a few years ago. Now I am in England, when I am back in Holland i will give more information.

05-14-2016, 02:19 PM
Please share your thoughts. I'm moving this beast to my basement today and could use any info that can help.

winking cat press
05-14-2016, 03:48 PM
i'd say that old press has had it, and is totally useless ;) So much so that I think you should call me and I'll come haul it away for you.... for free!

(just kidding)

That is a great machine! With just a little clean up and adjustment, that baby will probably last you for the rest of your life! Looking at the pictures, I don't think you need to have the bed and/or roller machined. It looks like there is a little rust and a lot of dirt. I've seen machines that were ten times as bad that cleaned up perfectly.

If it were mine I'd very carefully clean it up..... it'll be a messy job..... and then reassemble it. Then I'd adjust the rollers to zero, and see if the roller makes contact with the bed across it's surface. If it does, or only shows small gaps or pits, then it'll print fine without doing any machining. The proper blankets / packing will render small imperfections irrelevant. I should know: my own old Vandercook is far from perfect and it prints wonderfully.

A few notes:
1- when cleaning, it is better to leave it a little rusty / dark than it is to go crazy and create flat spots. Remember to remove the rust and dirt, not any good metal..... so don't use sandpaper or any sort of abrasive or power tools. Even a wire wheel on a drill will remove too much metal. Instead first use a good de-greaser and maybe a hard plastic scaper or steel wool to remove any crud, and then a good rust remover like Naval Jelly. If you can get one, a power washer will be a big help..... just use it with soap and water (no chemicals) and be sure to oil all of the bearings as soon as possible.

2- in my view, it is better to not disassemble an old press unless you absolutely have to. If you take it apart, you run the risk of stripping threads, and breaking cast parts that cannot be replaced. Sure, it's ok to take small parts off or remove the bed.... but leave the rollers and major parts in place if at all possible. You'll thank me later.

3- wear old clothes, and enjoy your work. What you are doing is not "fixing up and old machine".... it is breathing new life into a work of art.

I envy you on your terrific good fortune. Please remember to keep us all informed as to your progress.

05-15-2016, 02:01 AM

These are the cylinders/rollers

05-15-2016, 02:05 AM


We used an engine hoist to move it. I had to remove the steps to the basement to pull this off. Really wish that I had a garage right now. Just spent about 8 hours moving this beast.

05-15-2016, 02:11 AM
So the name of the company that made this massively epic hunk of metal is R.Hoe and Co., I did a little research and this press may be nearly 100yrs old.
We decided for cleaning purposes, and to ensure that nothing would fall over, that we would put the base together for now. I will be cleaning it up over the next couple of weeks and then piecing it back together completely for it's new voyage into the printmaking world again.

05-15-2016, 07:46 AM
I think it is not necessary to have the rollers resurfaced in a lathe. The surface look good as it is. Little spots and different colour does not have any effect on printing. Just clean it, as the previous message said.
When I look at the pictures; this press is bottom roller driven. That means the bottom roller is driven and the bed , via gear wheels as well.
The top roller and the bottom rollers are connected with gear wheels as well.
That means:
If the gear wheels to the left side of the press, have the same diameter, the rollers also must have exactly the same diameter. If not , you get friction between the roller and the bed during printing.
It is not possible to change the diameter of the lower roller, because it MUST have the same diameter as the gear wheels on the lower roller. If not, there will be friction between the lower roller and the bed, resulting in breaking the teeth of the gear wheels of the lower roller.

05-15-2016, 04:26 PM
I have decided that, 1) it would cost a lot of money if i did get the rollers machined, 2) it most likely could mess it up, 3) i am gonna clean it up all by myself and hope for the best.
This project is a huge responsibility put on me that i must make certain does not become an albatross in my life. I will keep this post updated, or make a new one, when the press is completed and running.
Thanks everyone for your input. It was much needed. I couldn't find any information on this press on the internet due to it being so old and rare.

Jeffro Jones
05-16-2016, 01:25 AM
i'm glad you're not going to machine lathe the rollers. I agree with the advice given (and your own opinion) that cleaning rather than turning is probably best. In the past I've solved the problem of pitting in rollers by filling with car body filler. The filler was (is) pink, and apart from the pink spots, the rollers still print beautifully. All the best with your project, and congratulations on finding and reclaiming a wonderful piece of machinery.


05-16-2016, 05:50 AM
Press bed estimated weight :eek: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-May-2016/1982856-press_bed_weight.jpg

05-16-2016, 06:40 AM
Looks like a great press. I got an old press last summer. The rollers were very dirty with lots of ink and some rust, but not as much as on yours. I brushed off loose rust with a copper wire brush and put some food oil on the rollers for a couple of days. Then I carefully brushed the rollers clean, also using a rag with some alcohol when needed. Finally I cleaned it for oil. It was a lot of work, but the result was very good.

05-18-2016, 05:50 AM
I have decided that i am going to name the press Christine.
The entire scenario feels akin to the John Carpenter horror movie classic. I've been obsessed with restoring this thing and even considered painting the frame red. It hasn't killed anyone, well... that i know of that is, but it definitely has the potential :eek:

Saint Ragdoll
06-16-2016, 09:25 PM
Didn't Stephen King write a story about a press, a laundry press , that killed people?

Saint Ragdoll

08-07-2016, 07:28 PM
It is now up and running. Scotch Brite pads work absolute wonders for detailing.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2016/1982856-13914127_10209771886951020_2767017835475633713_o.jpg

03-14-2017, 05:17 PM
that thing is awesome.

03-16-2017, 01:15 PM
It looks like you could make steel plate with it, never mind prints!

03-17-2017, 10:25 AM
It looks like you could make steel plate with it, never mind prints!

the term "engineering overkill" comes to mind. :)

the gear drive probably weighs more than some whole presses.

03-17-2017, 02:58 PM
Is it hard to turn???

03-19-2017, 09:14 PM
Good for you! I cleaned up my old litho press's rusty cylinder thirty years ago; glad to see you join the club!